Estimating Medical Care Economic Burden Using the CPS ASEC
Joelle Abramowitz, U.S. Census Bureau
Brett O'Hara, U.S. Census Bureau
This paper uses the March 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to estimate a measure of medical care economic burden. This measure utilizes newly introduced questions in the CPS ASEC to compare actual out-of-pocket medical spending with resources available for medical care. This measure is important for understanding the impacts of increasing health expenditures and decreasing employer-sponsored insurance coverage as well as assessing the impact and design of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to estimating a measure of burden, the paper compares estimates using the CPS ASEC to those using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Survey. While prior work has examined medical expenditures as a percentage of income, this is the first paper to do so using the CPS ASEC. This paper also provides a foundation for future work estimating medical care economic risk using the CPS ASEC.